Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wisdom from Oma

Be careful and pay attention! If you manage to pour the coffee over your hand rather than into the cup - it is going to burn. 

My Love Dare: Day 11

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. ~ Ephesians 5:28




Day 11: Love cherishes

This might come as a shock to you, but I am an imperfect person.

(gasp! I know, right? heehee)

Well, here’s another news flash. We are all imperfect people. Yes, despite what you may think, this is true. Each and everyone of us is flawed. So it only stands to reason that we are going to end up married to imperfect people.


The question is: how to we react to those imperfections?

Look down. If the rug at your feet was showing some flaws, maybe had a few stains (mistakes) you would likely get rid of it and replace it. But if your foot was hurt, bruised, broken, or kept tripping up, you wouldn’t cut it off and just get a new one – would you? Of course not! Why? Because it’s a part of you. Instead you would probably do whatever you could within your power to fix the problem and keep the foot.  You would nurture it, treat it gently until it healed.  You would even consult experts to help. Right?

The problem today is that too many people treat our spouses - our marriages - like the rug.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church -- ~ Ephesians 5:28 – 29

Society talks a lot about self. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Nurture yourself.

When you look at your spouse, you are looking at a part of you. When you show him love; you show love to yourself. When you hurt or mistreat him, you are doing the same thing to yourself. So… treat him well. Cherish him. Respect him. Nurture him. Love him.

TODAY’S DARE: WHAT NEED DOES YOUR SPOUSE HAVE THAT YOU COULD MEET TODAY? CAN YOU RUN AN ERRAND? GIVE A BACK RUB OR FOOT MASSAGE? IS THERE HOUSEWORK YOU COULD HELP WITH? CHOOSE A GESTURE THAT SAYS, “I CHERISH YOU” AND DO IT WITH A SMILE.

Easy peasey!  I knew darn good and well that The Man of the House needed to take the painter's tape off the door; and I was more than happy to knock that task off his To-Do list for him!  And you know what?  I actually did enjoy it.  Knowing I was helping to lighten his load, even with that simple task, made me feel really good.

I also finally got around to making that banana pudding for him!

Answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” ~ Mark 10:51



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Love Dare: Progress Report


I’m about one quarter through The Love Dare. Today is day 10.
I have to admit. I was wondering if it was making any difference yet. Had The Man of the House even noticed any of the things I had done as my daily dares?

Yes, I know… it shouldn’t matter. That’s not the point. It’s not about getting attention or accolades. But I couldn’t help but think these thoughts anyway.

Last night I got my answer.

He told me that he felt as if I had been “happier” over the last week or so. That he felt as if I was thinking of him and considering his feelings and needs. And that he appreciated it.

Yah! He can see the changes in me and how I treat him. He feels appreciated!

And that IS the point. For him to feel appreciated, cherished and loved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: January 29

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Watching the grand baby eat his first cup cake
  • Cheese toast
  • Freezing rain tapping at the windows
  • Cat purring at my feet
  • Watching rows of crochet grow into something
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. ~ Psalm 100:4

My Love Dare: Day 10

God deomonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8



Day 10: Love is unconditional
Why do you love your spouse? Could you make a list of reasons? I could. I’ve even written a blog post about it.  41 Reasons

What if one day your spouse stopped being every one of those things? Would you still love him?

Love isn’t (and shouldn’t be) determined by the one being loved, but by the one choosing to do the loving.

This kind of love is “Agape”. Unconditional love. Selfless love. Agape love is the kind we speak of in marriage vows: “for better or for worse”. This is “True Love”

This is the type of love God has for us. He doesn’t love us because we are loveable, but because He is loving. We don’t have to earn His love. He has made the choice to love us all on His own..

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

This is the type of love that makes a marriage strong and lasting. Not love that gives up when it doesn’t like something, but love that loves even when everything isn’t perfect.


TODAY’S DARE: DO SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY TODAY FOR YOUR SPOUSE – SOMETHING THAT PROVES (TO YOU AND TO THEM) THAT YOUR LOVE IS BASED ON YOUR CHOICE AND NOTHING ELSE. WASH HER CAR. CLEAN THE KITCHEN. BUY HIS FAVORITE DESSERT. FOLD THE LAUNDRY. DEMONSTRATE LOVE TO THEM FOR THE SHEER JOY OF BEING THEIR PARTNER IN MARRIAGE.

I had great plans percolating in my head.  I was going to make a banana pudding for The Man of the House.  Unfortunately, I didn't seriously think about it until too late in the day and I had neither pudding, nor vanilla wafers, nor whipped cream. Oops!  Ok... quick plan change. I decided to give him a nice, relaxing foot rub while we watched a little evening television. Which I did. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 9

Greet one another with a kiss of love. ~ 1 Peter 5:4



Day 9: Love makes good impressions

How do you greet friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or people you meet in public? With a smile and a polite “Hello” or “How are you?” Do you at least make eye contact and smile at them?

How do you greet your spouse? If you greet others warmly and politely, doesn’t your spouse deserve the same – times ten? For me the answer is a resounding YES!

How you greet your spouse each day carries surprising significance. A loving greeting can bless your spouse through what they see, hear, and feel.

Think about your greeting. Does it make your spouse feel valued and appreciated? Do they feel loved when you greet them each day?


TODAY’S DARE: THINK OF A SPECIFIC WAY YOU’D LIKE TO GREET YOUR SPOUSE TODAY. DO IT WITH A SMILE AND WITH ENTHUSIASM. THEN DETERMINE TO CHANGE YOUR GREETING TO REFLECT YOUR LOVE FOR THEM.

Today’s Love Dare was very convicting for me.

I like to greet The Man of the House warmly when he comes home from work. But I am usually so distracted with fixing dinner, cleaning up, or other chores – or I am just exhausted and feeling lazy – that I let it slide. I have to confess that usually the dog and the grand baby show more excitement that he’s arrived home than I express. That has to change!

I want The Man of the House to feel that I am happy to see him. That I am happy to wake up to him, to have him walk through the door at the end of the day, to go to sleep beside him each night. I want him to feel valued and appreciated. I want my greetings to express that to him

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: January 27

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Pattern of light and shadow reflecting on the wall



  • A train whistle in the distance
  • Being alone with my thoughts
  • Watching my children laugh together
  • When the Man of the House comes through the door at the end of the day

My Love Dare: Day 8

Love is as strong as death, its jealously unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire. ~ Song of Solomon 8:6


Day 8: Love is not jealous

Jealousy comes from the root word for “zeal”: to burn with intense fire. It is one of the strongest drives known to humans.

There are two types of jealousy:

Legitimate Jealousy: this jealousy is based on love. It’s jealousy that longs to have back what is yours. This is the kind of jealousy God has for His people.

Illegitimate Jealousy: this is rooted in selfishness. It is moved with envy. This is the jealousy we feel when someone is more successful than us. When we want what someone else has. This type of jealousy is also seen in the Bible. It’s the jealousy Cain had toward Abel. The jealousy Sarah had toward Hagar. The jealousy Joseph’s brothers felt when they threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. The jealousy the Pharisees felt toward Jesus, leading them to have him arrested and crucified.

There is no place for illegitimate jealousy in a marriage. Love is not selfish. It refuses to let wrongful jealousy in. As spouses, we should be cheerleaders for each other in all things. Not competing with each other. We should celebrate our spouse’s successes, not resent them.


TODAY’S DARE: DETERMINE TO BECOME YOUR SPOUSE’S BIGGEST FAN AND TO REJECT ANY THOUGHTS OF JEALOUSY. TO HELP; YOU SET YOUR HEART ON YOUR SPOUSE AND FOCUS ON THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS, TAKE YESTERDAY’S LIST OF NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTES AND DISCREETLY BURN IT. THEN SHARE WITH YOUR SPOUSE HOW GLAD YOU ARE ABOUT A SUCCESS HE OR SHE RECENTLY ENJOYED.

I am pleased to say with great certainty that of all the faults I have discovered about myself as a wife in this Love Dare journey so far – this is not one of them. I can’t think of a time when I have been jealous of any accomplishment or success The Man of the House has experienced. I celebrate his successes and am extremely proud of him. I pray I have done a good job expressing this to him and that he knows that.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 7

(Love) believes all things, hopes all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7



Day 7: Love believes the best

When you think of your spouse, what comes to mind first? The things you admire or the things that irritate you? Good habits, qualities, and memories? Or the bad?

We all have failures in our lives.

We all have areas which need growth.

We all have issues, hurts, and baggage.

It is so much easier to focus on our spouse’s failures, downfalls, and issues; while we downplay all of our own negatives.

But love chooses to believe the best about people. It focuses on the positive rather than the negative. It encourages us to meditate on our spouses good attributes instead of dwelling on the negatives.

TODAY’S DARE: FOR TODAY’S DARE, GET OUT TWO SHEETS OF PAPER. ON THE FIRST ONE, SPEND A FEW MINUTES WRITING OUT POSITIVE THINGS ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE. THEN DO THE SAME THING WITH THE NEGATIVE THINGS ON THE SECOND SHEET. PLACE BOTH SHEETS IN A SECRET PLACE FOR ANOTHER DAY. THERE IS A DIFFERENT PURPOSE, AND PLAN FOR EACH. AT SOME POINT DURING THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY, PICK A POSITIVE ATTRIBUTE FROM THE FIRST LIST AND THANK YOUR SPOUSE FOR HAVING THIS CHARACTERISTIC.

No, I am not going to tell you what was on the two lists I made. I will tell you that the first list of positives was much, much longer than the second list of negatives. I take it as a good sign that it was much easier to thing of good things about The Man of the House than negative things!

If there is anything praiseworthy --- meditate on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wisdom From Oma

The day you really need to buy groceries will be the same day they call for snow - leading to that southern phenomena of a stampede on bread and milk at the store which you will have to wade through. 

My Love Dare: Day 6

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he who rules his spirit than he who captures a city. ~ Proverbs 16:32




DAY 6: Love is not irritable

“Love is hard to offend, and quick to forgive.”

How easily do you get irritated and offended?

How easily do you get irritated or offended by your spouse?

If you are like me the answer may be “depends on the day”.  Some days I am quickly hurt or frustrated. Minor events bring on major reactions.  Not exactly a loving response. 
A loving spouse exercises emotional control. They are a joy to live with, not a jerk.

According to The Love Dare, we often become irritable for two main reasons:

1)Stress: we’re all familiar with it. It drains and weakens us. It’s an open door for irritability. Stress can be caused by relational causes such as arguing and bitterness. It can be caused by excesses such as overworking, overspending, or overplaying. It can also be caused by deficiencies such as not enough exercise, nutrition, or rest.

The answer to this is to slow down! Pray through your anxieties instead of taking them out on your spouse. Observe the Sabbath each week to worship and rest. Recharge, refocus, and give a margin to your busy weekly schedule.

2) Selfishness: Insecurity or selfishness can send us spiraling down a road of irritability!

The calming cure for irritability? Love. Love causes us to be grateful. To forgive. To be happy. To prioritize family. Love lowers stress. It brings a response of patience rather than anger or exasperation.

TODAY’S DARE: CHOOSE TODAY TO REACT TO TOUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IN YOUR MARRIAGE IN LOVING WAYS INSTEAD OF WITH IRRITATION. BEGIN BY MAKING A LIST OF AREAS WHERE YOU NEED TO ADD MARGIN TO YOUR SCHEDULE. THEN LIST ANY WRONG MOTIVATIONS THAT YOU NEED TO RELEASE FROM YOUR LIFE.

I made the choice to react in loving ways instead of irritation.  I also realized that it is a work in progress.  I will have to make that choice over and over again.  I may slip up sometimes.  No, I probably will slip up sometimes.  When I do - I have to acknowledge it, apologize for it, and take steps to do better the next time.

Margins:

  • Prioritize time for date night
  • Allow for relaxing Sunday afternoons with family instead of staying busy with chores/duties.
  • Make time for myself each week (exercise, bubble bath, mani/pedi, etc)

Motivations to Release:
  • Admiration and attention of others
  • Selfishness
  • Envy









Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Made Me Laugh

I was making one of my favorite meals - Brinner (aka: breakfast for dinner)  While cooking up the eggs, one had a big bubble on it, so I tried to pop it with the spatula.  This was the result...


I was laughing so hard as I watched this egg chatter at me!
Ok... it clearly doesn't take much to amuse me....

My Love Dare: Day 5

He who blesses his friend with a a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him. ~ Proverbs 27:14



Day 5: Love is not rude

Very few things are as irritating as a rude person. Someone who does unbecoming, annoying, or embarrassing things.

This is another one of those areas where we may be better about being polite to others than to our spouse. It certainly is true for me!

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve thought it also. “I want to be comfortable around my spouse. I don’t want to feel like I’m at a formal event all the time, having to mind my manners and be on my best behaviour. I want to let my hair down and just be myself”. Right…  Minding your manners and being polite doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself.  It just means being your best self.

But if we truly love someone, shouldn't we be just as concerned about their comfort as we are with our own?  Even more!!  Good manners say to the person you are with “I value you enough to exercise some self control around you; because I want to be a person who is pleasant to be with.”

The Love Dare presents three rules for being polite with your spouse:
1) Guard the Golden Rule: Treat your mate the way you want to be treated. Makes sense!

2) No Double Standards: Be as considerate to your spouse as you are to strangers. I would say you should be even more considerate! This is the person you love and cherish. Don’t they deserve even better than someone you don’t even know?

3) Honor Requests: Consider what your spouse asked you to do, and DO IT! If in doubt – Ask!It’s easy to get wrapped up in what our spouse does that annoys us. But selfishness keeps us from considering (and changing) what we do that annoys our spouse. You can’t force your spouse to change. But you can take the first step, set the example and start taking your spouses feelings and requests into consideration and change yourself.

TODAY’S DARE: ASK YOUR SPOUSE TO TELL YOU THREE THINGS THAT CAUSE HIM OR HER TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE OR IRRITATED WITH YOU. YOU MUST DO SO WITHOUT JUSTIFYING YOUR BEHAVIOR. THIS IS FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE ONLY.

Ok… I asked. And once I convinced him that it was not going to start a fight, he still insisted that he couldn’t think of anything. Which leads me to three possible conclusions:

A) I really am the perfect wife! (HA!)

B) He really wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t start a fight, and didn’t want to go there.

C) He really couldn’t think of anything when I asked; and I will just have to start paying attention to his reactions to discover things I do which irritate him or make him uncomfortable in order to change them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Outside My Comfort Zone

Insecurity.

Self doubt.

I don't like to fail.  You could probably say I have a "fear of failure".  In fact, I try to avoid it when ever possible.  To the point that if I think I might fail at something, I either a) give it up quickly or b) never try to begin with.

I have thought "Oh, I could never do that!" about so many things in my life.

Staying safely tucked into my comfort zone.  Making excuses.

"I could never do that!" 

But scripture tells us: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" ~ Philippians 4:13

What's the old saying?  About how if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it?

If God calls me to do something - I can do it!  He gives me the strength of Christ to help me through anything he sets before me. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

God never sets us up for failure!  I need to stop doubting myself.  And start trusting God.

My Love Dare: Day 4

How precious also are Your thoughts to me... How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. ~ Psalm 139: 17-1


Day 4: Love is thoughtful

I think about The Man of the House a lot.  I mean a LOT! 

But does that mean am I thoughtful?

Do I think of his needs and wants and do my best to meet them - without having to be asked?  Do I try to meet in the middle and compromise - or even give in - on things that matter to him?  Do I try to understand his point of view and feelings on things?  Do I think of ways to demonstrate my love for him?  Where can I improve on these things to be more thoughtful?

Sadly, my answer to too many of those questions is "No", "Not really", or "Not often enough".  I am a stubborn creature.  I want things done my way.  I'm often unyielding in my opinions. 

Wow... you know what?  I just realized...  I'm kind of a brat!!  Another area where I need some serious work.

TODAY'S DARE:  CONTACT YOUR SPOUSE SOMETIME DURING THE BUSINESS OF THE DAY.  HAVE NO AGENDA OTHER THAN ASKING HOW HE OR SHE IS DOING AND IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU COULD DO FOR THEM.

I sent The Man of the House a text and asked him if there anything he needed me to do for him that day.  Obviously I wasn't there to see his reaction, but I like to think he had to pick his jaw up off his desk. Ha! 

As a matter of fact, he needed some help taping the front door to prepare it for painting.  A task I happily helped with.  OK... I did some of it... 

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. ~ Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: January 22

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Surprise gifts from the Man of the House
  • This:
  • Lazy days in pajamas
  • The sense of accomplishment when the numbers on the scale go down
  • That sweaty exhausted good feeling after 3 miles on the treadmill

My Love Dare: Day 3

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~ Romans 12:10



Day 3: Love is not selfish

There it was.  The first two days had quietly whispered to me about my selfish nature.  Day three was going to shove it right in my face.

We're all selfish to some extent.  Of course we are.  Today's world tells us it's all about "self". 

My happiness.

My stuff.

My feelings.

My rights.

What I want.

What I deserve.

Selfishness.  It's something we condemn in others.  And justify in ourselves.  I'm just as guilty of this hypocrisy as anyone else. 

Even in moments of generosity or kindness, I can be selfish.  Because I am often looking for the recognition and praise for my actions. 

Scripture calls us to "Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3)
Selfishness... looking out for my own interest rather than the interest of someone else.  Which makes me wonder if that's the same as loving myself more than someone else.  And what kind of message that sends the person I love and have chosen to spend my life with?

TODAY'S DARE: WHATEVER YOU PUT YOUR TIME, ENERGY, AND MONEY INTO WILL BECOME MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU.  IT'S HARD TO CARE FOR SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT INVESTING IN.  ALONG WITH RESTRAINING FROM NEGATIVE COMMENTS, BUY YOUR SPOUSE SOMETHING THAT SAYS "I WAS THINKING OF YOU TODAY."

This dare concerned me a little.  Since I am no longer working outside the home, I don't really have any disposable income to buy little goodies.  But I did have some Starbucks cards I had received as Christmas gifts.  Now, if you know me - you know I love my coffee.  And Starbucks is one of my very favorite treats.  Because of this it would have been very easy for me to be selfish with my Starbucks cards and keep it for my own enjoyment.  But in the spirit of the dare I offered to get a coffee treat for The Man of the House when we stopped to pick up a few items on the way home from church. 

I also chose to invest some time that afternoon.  The Man of the House was going to the park to fly his r/c plane, and the female offspring was going with to take some pictures with her new camera.  He asked if I wanted to go.  My first reaction was "no".  I wanted to take a nap.  I wanted to do some laundry.  I knew it would be chilly.

I... I... I... 

Looking out for my own interest before those of my spouse.  I put all those "I want" on a shelf and put on my tennis shoes to tag along. 

And ya know what?  We had a nice little time at the park for an hour or so.  (even if it was cold)





Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow Much For Winter Storms

Last Thursday night we were under a Winter Storm Warning.  2 to 6 inches of snow were predicted for our county depending on elevation.  I, for one, was looking forward to it!  I like to see at least one reasonable snow fall each winter.  I shopped for groceries a day early and was all ready to bunker in for a snow day of resting and relaxing. 

Wanna see how much snow we got??

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Oh yeeeeeeh....  Just look at it!  That's right!  I can't wait to have a snowball fight, and sled, and build a snowman!
Welcome to winter in the southern Appalachian mountains.

My Love Dare: Day 2

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. ~ Ephesians 4:32



Day 2: Love is kind

"Kindness is love in action"

Are the people I am usually the least kind to are the very people I should show the most kindness?  The people I love.  The people who love me.  Why?

Am I more likely to speak harshly, or sarcastically, or sharply to The Man of the House than others?  Why?

When I meet some one's eye in the store, or a parking lot, or the gym, or at church I usually try to smile.  Do I do that when I make eye contact with The Man of the House across the living room or when we pass in the hallway?  Why?

The Love Dare states that kindness has four basic core ingredients:

Gentleness:  Being careful how you treat your spouse.  Being sensitive and tender with his feelings.  Not being unnecessarily harsh.  This doesn't mean you don't say difficult things when they need to be said, but that you "speak the truth in love".

Helpfulness:  Meeting the needs of the moment.  Serving your spouse without first worrying about your rights.  Stepping up to assure your spouses needs are met - even if that means putting yours on hold for a while.

Willingness: Being  flexible.  Instead of grumbling and complaining - compromising and accommodating.  Listening and being cooperative instead of demanding your own way.

Initiative: Think ahead.  Take the first step.  Don't wait around to be asked.  See the need, meet the need.  Greet first.  Smile first.  Serve first.  Forgive first.  You shouldn't wait for your spouse to show kindness before you will be kind.

OK.... clearly I have some work to do.  I've gone through life, and my marriage, believing I was mostly a kind person.  Kind enough... 

But is "kind enough" enough?  Would I want someone to treat me "kind enough?" If I'm being honest - no, probably not.  So why should I expect that to be good enough for The Man of the House?  Simple answer: I shouldn't.  I love him.  More than any other human being in the world.  So I should be kinder to him than to any other human being in the world.

TODAY'S DARE: IN ADDITION TO SAYING NOTHING NEGATIVE TO YOUR SPOUSE AGAIN TODAY, DO AT LEAST ONE UNEXPECTED GESTURE, AS AN ACT OF KINDNESS.

The timing was quite helpful to me in this dare.  It was a Saturday.  One when The Man of the House had to work and then needed to make a trip to the Recycling & Transfer center to discard of all our household trash.  Before he got home, I went through the house and bagged up the trash in the small wastebaskets throughout the house (the ones in bathrooms and bedrooms). 

So far this whole Love Dare thing felt pretty easy.  I can only imagine that it won't always be this simple.

What is desirable in a man is his kindness. ~ Proverbs 19:22a (NAS)


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Love Dare: Day 1

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ~ Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)


Day 1: Love is patient

I inwardly cringed as I read the words.  Patience is not exactly a virtue I possess easily. 

Slow to anger?  Me?  uh.... no.  I'm more the over reacting type gal.  Oh sure, I might not yell and scream all the time. But I have plenty of other ways of showing my impatience.  I know that scowls, eye rolls, and deep sighs can go a long way.

But as the text of the chapter pointed out to me "No one likes to be around an impatient person."  Ouch! 

Gently nursing my proverbial bruised toes, I thought this over. It was true.  No denying it.  I know I don't like to be around impatient people (Hello kettle - have you met pot?)

Patience means giving people permission to be themselves.  To be human.  To make mistakes.  and to feel safe.   And isn't that what many of us want in marriage?  To be able to relax, be ourselves, and know we will be loved and accepted even when we make mistakes?  For me, the answer to that is a big fat "YES!"

TODAY'S DARE: THE FIRST PART OF THIS DARE IS FAIRLY SIMPLE.  ALTHOUGH LOVE IS COMMUNICATED IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, OUR WORDS OFTEN REFLECT THE CONDITION OF OUR HEART.  FOR THE NEXT DAY, RESOLVE TO DEMONSTRATE PATIENCE AND TO SAY NOTHING NEGATIVE TO YOUR SPOUSE AT ALL.  IF THE TEMPTATION ARISES, CHOOSE NOT TO SAY ANYTHING.  IT'S BETTER TO HOLD YOUR TONGUE THAN TO SAY SOMETHING YOU'LL REGRET.

Ok.  I could do that.  Of course, for me that also means watching my expressions.  I have no poker face what so ever.  But I was willing to give it my best. 

Admittedly, the Man of the House made it easy on me by working all day and not doing anything that I found especially irritating.  But it seemed as though my Love Dare was off to a good start, despite my concerns at the beginning of Day 1.

Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. ~ James 1:19

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Dare Ya!

As you read this, some weeks have passed since I began The Love Dare by  Stephen and Alex Kendrick.  However I chose not to publish my posts about my journey through the dare until I had worked my was into it a bit.  



The Love Dare - yes, the book which the film "Fireproof" was based around. 

The Love Dare is not about changing your spouse to be the person you want them to be. 

It is about learning to live a life filled with love. 

Loving actions. 

Loving thoughts. 

Loving feelings. 

It is about chosing to lead your heart instead of following it. 

It is about recognizing love as a decision.  A choice we make. 

It is about demonstrating love as it was meant to be and changing yourself - and your relationship - for the better.

The book begins with this warning:

"RECEIVE THIS AS A WARNING.
THIS FORTY DAY JOURNEY CANNOT
BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.

IT IS A CHALLENGING AND OFTEN
DIFFICULT PROCESS, BUT AN INCREDIBLY
FULFILLING ONE.  TO TAKE THIS DARE
REQUIRES A RESOLUTE MIND AND A
STEADFAST DETERMINATION.

IT IS NOT MEANT TO BE SAMPLED OR
BREIFLY
TESTED, AND THOSE WHO QUIT EARLY WILL
FORFEIT THE GREATEST BENEFITS.  IF YOU
WILL COMMIT TO A DAY AT A TIME FOR
FORTY DAYS, THE RESULTS COULD CHANGE YOUR
LIFE AND YOUR MARRIAGE.

CONSIDER IT A DARE, FROM OTHERS
WHO HAVE DONE IT BEFORE YOU."

I took the Love Dare.  In following posts, you will see what I learned about myself and what happened as a result.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flu Paranoia

I admit it... all this media coverage about the flu outbreak is getting to me.

When I go to the gym CNN or FoxNews is always on the TVs.  And they are always ( I mean always) talking about the latest flu statistics.  With nothing else to do while on the treadmill than listen to this, my mind starts reeling off into the possibilities...

Anyone in here could have the flu and I wouldn't know it.

What if the last person on this treadmill had the flu and didn't wipe down the handles after they finished?

Yes, it's gotten bad enough hat I wipe down the machine before and after I use it. 

It's not just at the gym either. 

The other day I returned a movie to the RedBox and began worrying about who might have used that touch screen before I did.

Especially since the machine was right outside CVS.  I could just imagine sick people stopping to get all their flu survival med and a few movies.  That one had me scrambling around inside the car searching for some hand sanitizer.  Ugh...

And before you even get started - yes, I know that a flu vaccine is probably a good idea.  Especially with my level of paranoia.  Let's just say I have some personal issues with the flu shot dating back to the year they gave us shots at work and I still ended up in bed for a week with the flu virus.  It's my baggage to deal with.

In the mean time, I'm stocking up on hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and vitamin C.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: January 17

I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Surprise desserts

Dancing with the grand baby

Fruit smoothies

Family game night

Spotting a hawk sitting on the telephone wire

Reading blog posts that make me laugh and cry

Someone to warm my cold feet at night

The treadmill at the gym







It's (mostly) OK

Linking up with A Complete Waste of Makeup for It's OK Thursday




IT'S OK...

That sometimes I just want an hour or two alone

To hope it really does snow so I have a reason to be lazy and just write and craft all day

To let your kid cut school the day after exams

To start getting ready to go to the gym and decide to forget it because it's rainy, cold, and you have other things to get done.

To have a half dozen (or more) partially completed crochet, craft, and DIY projects

That there are two baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Be STILL!

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  ~ Exodus 14:14

All the busyness, the chaos, the activity.

Be Still!

 Trying to do things my way - according to my agenda - rather than according to His plan.

Be Still!

The Lord will fight for you - when you stop fighting against Him.

Be still!

In Him, the battle is already won.

Be still!

Stop.  Seek His Will.  Rest in Him.

He will fight for you.

You need only to be still.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What Is Given Them From Heaven

The other morning I was just waking up and thinking about my day ahead.  Somehow I began thinking about what a mess the house was and how much cleaning it needed.  Then my mind wandered to how out of shape I am and the weight I have put on over the last two years or so.  I was feeling a little discontent with both of these things and spent a few moments reflecting on changes that need to be made.

Suddenly - as clearly as someone speaking in my ear - came this thought.  Often I have not been a very good steward of many of the things God has trusted to me.  More often than I really care to think about.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Yet, quite frequently  I have been treated it more like a food court at the mall.  Just sitting around, stuffed with as much junk food as it could possible hold.  Not exactly "temple" material there. 

I have been making an effort to consider the many blessings the Lord provides to me, and to give thanks for those things.  This showed me a whole new step in this process.  I have to remember that just as John 3:27 says, "A person can receive only what is given them from heaven". 

Everything is a gift from heaven, and I need to treat it accordingly.  Whether that is taking better care of my health, doing my best to keep the house up, keeping my car cleaned out, or spending quality time with my family.

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' ~ Matthew 25:21

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wisdom From Oma

Realizing you are the youngest person in the workout room makes you feel great... until you realize the woman approximately twice your age on the treadmill next to you is kicking your behind!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Now I Want A Chili Dog And A Nap

Linking up with A Complete Waste of Makeup for "It's OK Thursday"


It's OK...

It's OK that no matter how much I clean, my kitchen still looks like a disaster area

It's OK that I can walk an hour or more on the treadmill no problem, but 10 minutes on the elliptical machine kicks my behind

It's OK that I'm only working out 3 days this week instead of 5

It's OK to want a chili dog

It's OK to want a nap

It's OK that remodeling the living room has me ready to redecorate the entire house

It's OK not to get this "One Direction" boy band thing at all

It's OK to have lost an hour (or two) in Pinterest

It's OK to think some people have far too much time on their hands (and to be a tiny bit jealous)

It's OK that this is the only blog post I wrote today

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Little Goes a Long Way

He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." ~ Matthew 13:33

A small bit of yeast.  Mixed into a large amount of flour.  Worked all through the dough.  And changing it.

It's amazing how something which seems so very small can change things so very much.

A little bitterness, a little sadness, a little resentment, a little anger can fill a heart, a mind - a life - with darkness.


The opposite is also true.

One little smile can change a day.

A little gratitude, a little giving of thanks, a little praise for all the Lord provides can change an outlook.

A little faith.  A little hope.  A little love.  Can all change a situation - even an entire life - for the better. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Feeling Crafty

Maybe it's the beginning of the new year.  Or a result of all the work we've done in the living room. Whatever the cause is - my creative spark is flaring up.

I spent far too much time on Pinterest today, scoping out ideas and longing to plan a trip to Michael's, Walmart, and the dollar store!

My mind is swimming with plans for new table runners, organization ideas for my crafting space and other clutter attracting spots around the house, and gifts!

I am sure I could have spent much, much more time browsing through pins, but I finally had to force myself to just close the window before my entire afternoon was sucked into a Pinterest void.!

I am so excited to start some great craft and DIY projects for 2013.  Be sure to stay tuned over at This IS My Day Job (my other blog) for posts about of all my upcoming projects!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Spirit of Gratitude: January 5, 2013


I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • The grand baby learning to play "peek-a-boo"
  • Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Slightly green bananas
  • Toys strewn across the living room floor
  • Audiobooks

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's Ok

Today I am linking up with Neely at "A Complete Waste of Makeup" for It's OK Thursday.


It's OK that my sink is full of dirty dishes this morning.

It's OK that I am full of plans and ideas - and low on energy

It's OK that I'm sitting in my pajamas and bathrobe in front of the computer at 10am

It's OK that there is an undressed Christmas tree still sitting in my living room

It's OK that I can't think of a single thing to blog about today... and that even all those previously started drafts sitting there are not inspiring me.

It's OK to realize I missed some nail polish around the edges... 2 days after I removed it!

It's OK that watching TV commercials makes me want sushi and donuts.




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Working It Out

I am so out of shape. It's really quite sad how far I have let myself go.  One of my main goals for 2013 is to improve my health through diet and exercise.  (which you already know if you have read "Goals for 2013")
The Man of the House helped get this goal off to a great start when he came home to surprise me with our family membership to the fitness center!  This place is almost literally right around the corner from our house.  Once the weather warms up I can even walk over!  (bonus!!)

Last night we went over to check things out and just try it out a little.  I did about 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, waked walked a little over 1.25 miles on the treadmill with a few bursts of jogging (I know! Me? Jogging?  Crazy!!), and the man of the house and I walked a mile on the walking track.

Today I went by myself at lunch time and walked just over an hour (2.5+ miles) on the treadmill. 

I'm also very excited about trying some of the classes they offer, including Zumba, pilates, and yoga.

How do you keep in shape? What is your favorite form of exercise?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Spirit of Gratitude: Happy New Year - 2013!

I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  • Time spent with my sisters
  • Laughing over shared memories
  • Private jokes
  • Words With Friends
  • A husband willing to tolerate an extended visit from most of my crazy family
  • Relaxing while someone else cooks for the whole gang
  • New Years kiss at midnight
  • The fresh start of a new year

Goals for 2013

This year rather than the typical "resolutions" I usually make, I am preferring to call them "personal goals". And here they are for inquiring minds -

My Personal Goals for 2013:

  1. Continue developing a spirit of gratitude for the many gifts God gives me
  2. Love, honor, and encourage those around me.
  3. Improve my health through diet and exercise
  4. Foster my creative side with writing, crafts, and DIY projects.

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